Movie Review: Independence Day – Resurgence

Independence Day 2 is a derivative exercise of meaningless disaster porn packaged as a sci-fi flick.

We always knew they were coming back. Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliens’ advanced and unprecedented force. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction. [20th Century Fox]

Independence Day: Resurgence belongs in the increasingly long line of sequels that nobody asked for but was made anyway (see: Zoolander 2, Huntsman: Winter’s War, CTHD: Sword of Destiny).

The sequel does provide epic destruction through well funded CGI. I watched this film to get brainlessly entertained after a stressful day at work wherein I spent nearly 7 hours on a digital marketing plan. It worked at first, but as the movie progressed I find it increasingly challenging to stay engaged.

In blockbuster age, 20 years might as well be a century. Ever since Independence Day became a box office hit that made a star out of Will Smith, the end of the world has been the subject of many films where internationally recognizable cities are destroyed in various ways. Seeing buildings lifted out of their foundations only to fall back to earth, is nothing new. There is interesting destruction here that’s good enough as a distraction, but that quickly wears off because there’s no one to care about onscreen.

Some of the old cast are back but only to remind viewers that this is a sequel. There are new faces, but these one dimensional stereotypes (such as the cocky hotshot, the hero’s son, and the star pilot) have nothing to do but run around, react to stuff happening around them, and for the well-known ones – doomsday hunk Liam Hemsworth and model Angelababy – to draw in audiences from their fan base. The recurring cast are just there to do a job and the new ones are underused. Charlotte Gainsbourg of Nymphomaniac is oddly casted as a scientist.

It doesn’t help that these negligible characters are thrown into a clunky plot. By doing away with the slow-building tension of the original film that compensated for its generic elements, the script made its flaws as huge as the now bigger mother ship. The narrative has no momentum whatsoever as the plot jumps from one storyline to the next. Patriotic moments come in extra cheesy while emotional ones ring hollow. In fairness, Resurgence does try to differentiate itself by adding plot twists to a derivative alien invasion story, but they fail to amuse because its too convenient and contrived. Every time the movie tries to raise the stakes, there’s a Deus Ex Machina after it. The biggest one is a talking hard drive that looked like it was designed by Apple.

In the end, the earth is saved blah blah blah and there will be a third installment. If you only want to watch cities get mindlessly destroyed, then Independence Day 2 has something to offer. On the other hand when you’ve seen a movie where sharks fall from the sky or monster hybrids terrorize towns, an interstellar planet harvester led by a four legged (?) Alien derivative queen bee is outdated.

My Rating: 3/10


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